We’re down to the Final Eight for the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, though the paths to the final don’t make this a simple power rankings.
The two remaining Division II sides face each other in the quarters, meaning a non-MLS team will make the USOC semifinal for the first time since the 2011 Richmond Kickers.
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Meanwhile, two of Major League Soccer’s best will tangle in a match that ensures either 2016 champs FC Dallas or 2015 winners Sporting KC will exit the tournament. And the winner of the Red Bulls and New England Revolution will face either FC Cincinnati or Miami FC and be heavily-favored to advance to the final.
Here’s how we rate ’em:
8. New England Revolution — The Revs may have the opportunity to face a non-MLS side in the semis, but they’ll first have to get by the Red Bulls in a Gold Cup window which sees New England without Juan Agudelo, Kelyn Rowe, and Je-Vaughn Watson (RBNY is without Kemar Lawrence).
7. FC Cincinnati (USL) — It doesn’t matter whether you rate the USL or NASL higher, traveling down to Florida will put FCC at a significant disadvantage.
6. Miami FC (NASL) — As fine as MFC has looked in its last two USOC outings, Alessandro Nesta’s bunch has to complete two more MLS upsets to win it all.
5. San Jose Earthquakes — Face the same problems as New England, missing a trio of players for the Gold Cup as a Cali Clasico date awaits with the LA Galaxy.
4. LA Galaxy — A slight advantage over San Jose, but then will stare down one of the deepest teams in MLS whether it faces FCD or SKC in the semis.
3. Sporting KC — Both SKC and FCD will miss significant players for the quarterfinal, but SKC’s losses — Matt Besler, Dom Dwyer, and Graham Zusi — sting the slightest bit more.
2. FC Dallas — Depth is there to help Dallas become the first back-to-back winners since Seattle clinched a trio of titles in 2011.
- New York Red Bulls — The path is clear to the final: Beat a New England team missing a trio of stars and then handle a second-tier side.